The last few weeks as everyone in my family took turns being sick and Joel got diagnosed with Bell’s palsy (amongst other things that were going on in our family) I was beginning to feel a little overwhelmed. You know those moments when you tell God you aren’t sure how much more you can handle and if anything else goes wrong you might just crawl into a hole and cry. That was me. When the boys were sick we went on several long walks to get some fresh air and to help keep my sanity. On several of those walks we found ourselves at Cora’s stone. The boys love walking there and it was a good reality check for me. Some fresh air and a reminder to keep an eternal perspective. My babies were sick, but it would pass and they are healthy boys. It seemed like Griffin cried for three days straight, but I had the privilege of holding him and comforting him and watching Bob the Builder and Thomas the Train 500 times with him. Joel being diagnosed with Bell’s palsy was scary and has definitely been a trial for him, but he’s here and it doesn’t change who he is even if his face looks a little funny…and it’s temporary. We have seen some small improvements which we are so grateful for. The crazy thing is the boys haven’t even seemed to notice…even the first week when it was so bad and very obvious. I can learn a lot from them. The past four weeks have been a reminder of a lesson God began teaching us after Cora died. One that I still often forget when life starts getting hard. We don’t want to allow our circumstances to define us, we want Christ to define us.
In the midst of all this that was going on I read this one morning…
God…made us alive together with Christ…and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-6, ESV
There was a time when your separation from me because of your sin made you what you were. But I have united you to Jesus Christ so that you have been transformed from what you were to what he is. Now everything that belongs to Christ belongs to you.
Why does this matter? Because these realities change everything about your life. No matter what you’ve been through and who you’ve been, there are now three events that define who you are. When you trusted in Christ, you died with Christ, you were raised from the dead with Christ, and you ascended with Christ and are seated with him in the heavenly places. His story has become the story of your life. His blessings have become your blessings. I have relocated your worth and destiny in Christ. Whatever else may happen to you, nothing can alter this deep connectedness. (Nancy Guthrie, Abundant Life)
I think it is so easy for me to get caught up in my personal circumstances and allow those circumstances…good or bad…to define my story. But because I belong to Christ, His story has become my story. His story has become my story. I love that. My circumstances don’t define me. And the fact that I am connected to Christ allows me to experience joy in the midst of heartache, peace in the midst of chaos, rest in the midst of exhaustion and so much more.
We all have hard things in our lives. I’m sure some of you are going through some really hard things right now. And if you are like me you might be tempted to allow those things to define you and your story. But we have a sure hope and an anchor to hold onto. Because of what Christ has done for us and the destiny we have in Him we have a new story. He has redefined us. And that changes everything.